During Monday’s Wapakoneta City Council meeting, Mayor Rodney Metz unveiled a series of goals he hopes to have completed by the end of the year – including moving forward on wind power generation.
Metz and Safety-Service Director Rex Katterheinrich are scheduled to meet with Pam Sullivan, vice president of marketing for American Municipal Power of Ohio (AMP-Ohio) and other AMP-Ohio officials today to discuss the future of wind turbines in the Wapakoneta area.
“In the meetings tomorrow (today), we hope to find out the length of time for engineering of the project and additional information engineering might need to complete the project,” Metz said after Monday’s council meeting. “We are also interested in learning about the footprint because it is one thing to have a footprint there for the wind mill or for one of the wind turbine units once it is done – but what does it take for the footprint to be constructed and maintained.
“I would also like to know the life expectancy of the turbines and towers and most definitely what is the infrastructure needed to serve the facility because this needs to fit into GE’s (General Electric’s) plan and the upgrades to the city’s electric system that GE is doing,” the mayor said. City administrators are working with GE engineers and workers to rebuild and refurbish the Middle Street substation at an estimated cost of $3.8 million and another $1 million to replace transformers and other electric items in the substation’s service area.
Additional plans call for replacing the Harrison Street substation at an estimated cost of $5.4 million and the Defiance Street substation at an estimated cost of $3.4 million.
Metz said he would like to start the process for a possible wind farm now but realizes there could be delays because “everyone in the wind generation industry is extremely busy because there are huge wind farms being built in other states.”
The mayor and
safety-service director plan to continue to investigate state and federal funding options to help offset the cost of engineering or construction, Metz said.
The cities of Wapakoneta and St. Marys shared the cost of an 18-month wind study by Green Energy Ohio which concluded Wapakoneta compares with wind speeds for Bowling Green. Bowling Green is the site of four wind turbines.
Metz told the Wapakoneta Daily News he has heard only positive comments from residents about wind power and installing wind turbines.
“Residents like the idea of lessening our demand on other resources, trying to be more green and obviously having the power source within our control,” Metz said.
Former 1st Ward Councilor Terry Campbell, who chaired the city’s Utilities Committee, addressed the issue earlier during Monday’s council meeting.
Campbell advised councilors to take a proactive approach because it “shows your interest in trying to move forward.”
During his term of office, he received several telephone calls regarding wind power and the wind turbines at Bowling Green.
He recommended property proposed for the planned water treatment plant and new well field as a possible site for the wind farm.
“From my standpoint, the property for the proposed water treatment plant and new wells near Interstate 75 and U.S. 33 is a great location,” Cambell said. “I can’t imagine a better sign for our industrial park than a 300-400-foot tall tower generating green energy. That could be an incentive for a business who is on the green side, and what is a better calling card to show our progress.
“I would encourage councilors to work with Rodney and Rex, if they are so inclined to move forward with this discussion,” he said. “I feel it can only benefit the city, both from the industrial park standpoint of garnering interest from people and from the green energy aspect which is important because of the price of fuel.”
By William Laney
3 June 2008
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